THE parents of a six-month-old baby boy who died after sustaining catastrophic trauma injuries have been jailed for more than 20 years.

Mihai-Catalin Gulie, 28, was found guilty of the murder of Robert Ion following a three-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court on October 25.

Gabriela Ion, 35, was found guilty of causing/allowing Robert’s death.

The pair appeared back before the court today, Friday, where Guile was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while Ion was handed a three-year jail term.

Baby Robert had been diagnosed with Downs Syndrome from birth and had spent the first few months of his life in hospital.

The court heard that on February 18 this year, Ion had left the family home on Mersey Road in Widnes at 11.26am to go to the shop before returning a few minutes later at 11.30am.

When she got inside the house, she saw Gulie who said that Robert appeared unwell. They began to place water on his face in an attempt to revive him and tapped his back.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Robert IonRobert Ion

Gulie, a Romanian national, called a family friend to ring an ambulance as he does not speak English.

When paramedics arrived, they found Robert on the sofa with no signs of life, so they immediately began CPR.

After six minutes, they were able to move Robert to the ambulance before taking him to hospital. He was placed into an induced coma in order to stabilise him.

On assessment, it was revealed that Robert was in a critical condition and had sustained a skull fracture and an irreversible non-survivable brain injury.

Further tests found Robert had also sustained additional injuries, including fractured ribs and a brain injury, which are believed to date back to around February 7.

Tragically, despite the best efforts of medical staff, Robert passed away three days later on February 21.

An investigation was launched and officers arrested both parents on suspicion of Robert’s murder, and they were subsequently charged.

In an interview with police, Gulie stated that he loved Robert and would never hurt him – he denied causing any injury to Robert and that he handled him as a ‘jewel’.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Liverpool Crown CourtLiverpool Crown Court

He told officers how he had spent £4,000 in taxi fares going to and from hospitals in the first few months of his life.

Police examination of Ion’s phone found that she had been searching how to remove bruises.

Detective inspector Nigel Parr, who was in charge of the investigation, said: “This has been an extremely difficult and emotional case for all involved. 

"Robert’s death was horrific.  He had already fought for the first few months of his life with various health issues, only to suffer further and have his life cruelly taken away from him by the people who should have cared for him the most.

“What Gulie and Ion did is unimaginable, and they are now facing the consequences of their actions behind bars.

“I welcome the sentences handed down by the court today, and I hope that in some way this helps to give Robert’s wider family some form of closure after an incredibly difficult experience.”

DI Parr added: “I would like to thank the team of officers who have worked on this very difficult and challenging case, and who have helped to secure these convictions at court and get justice for Robert.”